WKU students optimistic for football program despite 1-3 start


Brittany Fisher

Western Kentucky University senior running back Adam Cofield (7) is tackled at the one yard line during Saturday night’s game against the Indiana Hoosiers in Houchens-Smith Stadium. The Hoosiers won 33-31.

Piper McCoun, Sports reporter

Statistically speaking, 1-3 is considered a bad record. Teams that are 1-3 are traditionally seen as non-threatening. This is where WKU Football’s record stands; however, the Hilltoppers shouldn’t be overlooked by anybody. 

The Hilltoppers have competed in tough games in even tougher environments this year, such as an away game against Army and two Big Ten matchups including a visit to East Lansing, Michigan, to play Michigan State, currently ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. 

 “Honestly, I keep up with our team pretty well. We’ve had a really hard schedule, so we’re not playing like a 1-3 team, even though our record says that,” Lauren Thienenan, a marketing major and senior at WKU, said. “I think we’ve done really well so far. We played Michigan State last weekend and kept up with them.” 

WKU put on a strong performance in East Lansing, converting 22 first downs and scoring three touchdowns by passing. The Hilltoppers had a total of 488 net yards through the air, surpassing the Spartans by 161 yards. WKU is also ranked as the 12th team in the nation in points per game (39) – these statistics prove the power of the Hilltopper offense, and as the season continues, offensive chemistry is expected to strengthen. 

“I think they’ll improve, I just think they’ve played some Power Five teams,” Elliot Bryant, a sophomore finance major, said. “I think they’ll do [well] the rest of the season, I just think they had a tough couple opening teams to play.” 

This seems to be the dominant opinion among WKU students. Despite the 1-3 start to the season, fan support is there. On Saturday, Sept. 25th, WKU fans set an all-time record in the university’s history for game attendance with 25,171 fans in the stands for WKU’s 33-31 loss to the Indiana Hoosiers.

 “Well, the competition of our opponents has actually been pretty hard so far in the early start of the season, You can definitely expect it to get better,” Justin Gelhaus, a sophomore business major, said. “I was at the Indiana game. I’d definitely say the biggest impact during that game was the record-setting crowd. It was a home game, a lot of hype around it, and I think that definitely boosted the players’ mentality to win.” 

WKU Football sits in fourth place in the east division of Conference USA since the program has yet to face a conference foe. This all changes when the Hilltoppers face UTSA in their first conference game of the season on Saturday, October 9th.

UTSA currently leads the west division of C-USA with a 5-0 record and a handful of notable wins over Illinois, Memphis and UNLV. The Roadrunners are averaging 34.6 points and 161.4 rushing yards per game, with the offense led by star running back Sincere McCormick. UTSA’s offense will serve as a yardstick to the true capabilities of WKU’s defense.

“I think as the team gets better, they keep playing harder teams, and I just think that excites the school,” Thienenan said. “It shows that we are a threat as a football team. I think the fact that everybody is showing out just makes the team play better. [It gives the team] adrenaline when it’s super loud, that just gets everybody hyped up.” 

Sports reporter Piper McCoun can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @piper_mccoun.